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Polish Pavilion
54th Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte - La Biennale di Venezia
Padiglione ai Giardini di Castello
Castello, Venezia

reported by Zachęta National Gallery of Art

shared by numero civico rovereto



54th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia

Yael Bartana

... and Europe will be stunned

2 June 2011, 4.30 p.m

Hanna Wróblewska

Sebastian Cichocki, Galit Eilat

Yael Bartana

Joanna Waśko

Oren Sagiv

Guy Saggee & Avihai Mizrahi
(studio Shual)

Zachęta National Gallery of Art Warsaw

Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland


user — prasa
password — wystawa
folder — Biennale 2011

Gazeta Wyborcza
TOK FM, The Warsaw Voice
Stolica, Art&Business

The 54th International Art Exhibition in Venice

The exhibition … and Europe will be stunned will be the official Polish participation at the 54th International Art Exhibition in Venice in 2011. This video installation by the Israeli-born artist Yael Bartana will be the first time a non-Polish national has represented Poland in the history of the Venice Biennale. Bartana's three films Mary Koszmary (2007), Mur i wieża (2009) and Zamach (2011) revolve around the activities of the Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland (JRMiP), a political group that calls for the return of 3,300,000 Jews to the land of their forefathers. The films traverse a landscape scarred by the histories of competing nationalisms and militarisms, overflowing with the narratives of the Israeli settlement movement, Zionist dreams, anti-Semitism, the Holocaust and the Palestinian right of return Apart from realising the film trilogy, a new political movement has been established by the artist.
Mary Koszmary (Nightmare) is the first film in the trilogy and explores a complicated set of social and political relationships among Jews, Poles and other Europeans in the age of globalisation. A young activist, played here by Sławomir Sierakowski founder and chief editor of Krytyka Polityczna magazine), delivers a speech in the) abandoned National Stadium in Warsaw. He urges three million Jews to come back to Poland. Using the structure and sensibility of a World War II propaganda film Mary Koszmary addresses contemporary anti-Semitism and xenophobia in Poland the longing for the Jewish past among liberal Polish intellectuals and the Zionist dream of return to Israel. As Yael Bartana says: ‘This is a very universal story as in previous works, I have treated Israel as a sort of a social laboratory, always looking at it from the outside. These are mechanisms and situations which can be observed anywhere in the world. My recent works are not just stories about two nations — Poles and Jews. This is a universal presentation of the impossibility of ‘.living together The second film in the trilogy Mur i wieża (Wall and Tower) was made in the Warsaw district of Muranów, where a new kibbutz was erected at actual scale and in the architectural style of the 1930's. This kibbutz, constructed in the centre of Warsaw, was an utterly ‘exotic' structure, even despite its perverse reflection of the history of the location, which had been the Jewish residential area before the war, and then a part of Warsaw Ghetto. The film invokes previous heroic images of strong and beautiful men and women who mythically established Israel. They were depicted as determined pioneers who, despite the most unfavorable conditions kept building houses, cultivating land, studying, bringing up children collectively sharing their assets and constantly training to fight off potential enemy attacks This is the world that the artist proposes to resurrect in the 21st century, in an Exhibition entirely different political and geographical configuration. Bartana again: ‘I quote the past, the time of Socialist utopia, youthfulness and optimism — when there ‘.was a project of constructing a modernist idea of a new world.
In the new film Zamach (Assassination), the final part of the trilogy, which has its premiere at the 54th International Art Exhibition in Venice and will be shown in parallel at the Zachęta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw — Bartana brings the dream about multinational community and the brand new Polish society to the ultimate test. The plot of the film takes place in not too distant a future, during the funeral ceremony of the leader of the Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland who had been killed by an unidentified assassin. It is by means of this symbolic death that the myth of the new political movement is unified — a movement which can become a concrete project to be implemented in Poland, Europe, or the Middle East in the days to come.

The project by Yael Bartana (which consists of the films and foundations of a political movement) is an experimental form of collective psychotherapy through which national demons are stirred and dragged into consciousness. Apart from the complex Polish-Jewish relationship, this is a story about our readiness to accept the other and of the complexities of cultural integration in an unstable world where geography and politics are subject to radical shifts. Bartana tests reactions to the unexpected return of the ‘long unseen neighbour' and recalls the forgotten motif of alternative locations for the state of Israel that were once considered by Zionists such as Uganda.

Exhibited Work
Yael Bartana, Mary Koszmary (Nightmares), 2007, Super 16 mm transfered to BluRay, Courtesy of Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, and Foksal Gallery Foundation Warsaw

Yael Bartana, Mur i wieża (Wall and Tower), 2009, RED transfered to HD, Courtesy of Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, and Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv

Yael Bartana, Zamach (Assassination), 2011, RED transfered to HD, Courtesy of Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, and Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv

The publication A Cookbook for Political Imagination (2011) accompanies the exhibition … and Europe will be stunned for the Polish Pavilion at the 54th Biennale of Art in Venice. This is not a traditional exhibition catalogue but rather a manual of .political instructions and recipes, delivered by more than 40 international authors Covering a broad spectrum of themes, the cookbook comprises manifestos, artistic contributions, fictional stories to elements of visual identity, food recipes, social advice and guidance for members of the movement. It is the first book published under the auspices of the Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland, and has been edited by the curators of the exhibition, Sebastian Cichocki and Galit Eilat, and designed by Guy Saggee from Shual Studio (Tel Aviv). A Cookbook for Political Imagination includes contributions by Gish Amit, Yazid Anani, Ariella Azoulay Marek Beylin, Achim Borchardt-Hume, Andrea Geyer, Anka Grupińska, Mika Hannula, Daniel Hendrickson, Rafał Jakubowicz, Wam Kat, Yuval Kremnitzer & Renzo Martens, Oliver Ressler, Sarah Rifky, Lia Perjovschi, Stefanie Peter Phillipp Goll, Avi Pitchon, Chantal Pontbriand, Ila Ben Porat, Steven ten Thije James Trainor, WHW and others.

Yael Bartana was born in 1970 in Afula, Israel. Her artistic practice includes film photography, video and sound installation. She has had numerous solo exhibitions e.g. at PS1, New York; Moderna Museet, Malmö; Center for Contemporary Art Tel Aviv; Kunstverein, Hamburg; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, or Fredericianum Kassel. She has also participated in such prestigious group shows as Manifesta 4 (Frankfurt (2002); 27th Săo Paulo Biennial (2006) or documenta 12 in Kassel (2007 In her Israeli projects, Bartana dealt with the impact of war, military rituals and a sense of threat on everyday life. Since 2008, the artist has also been working in Poland, creating projects on the history of Polish-Jewish relations and its influence on the contemporary Polish identity. Yael Bartana is a winner of numerous prizes and awards, e.g. Artes Mundi 4 (Wales, 2010), Anselm Kiefer Prize (2003), Prix (Dazibao (Montreal, 2009), Prix de Rome (Rijksakademie, Amsterdam, 2005 Dorothea von Stetten Kunstpreis (Kunstmuseum Bonn, 2005) or the Nathan (Gottesdiener Foundation Israeli Art Prize (2007).

Sebastian Cichocki works as the chief curator at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. Between 2005–2008, he worked as director of the Centre for Contemporary Art Kronika in Bytom, Poland. In his curatorial and publishing projects, he often refers to the land art and conceptual traditions. Selected curated and co-curated exhibitions: Early Years, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2010); Daniel Knorr. Awake Asleep, Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw (2008); Monika Sosnowska. 1:1, Polish Pavilion at the 52nd International Art Exhibition, Venice 2007); Yane Calovski and Hristina Ivanoska. Oskar Hansen's Museum of Modern) Art, CCA Kronika, Bytom (2007); Bródno Sculpture Park, Park Bródnowski, Warsaw 2009–2011); Warsaw in Construction, Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, public) space, Warsaw (2009, 2010). Author of critical texts and art-related literary fictions Chief editor of the humanities quarterly Format P. He has published in periodicals such as Artforum, Cabinet, Mousse, Krytyka Polityczna, FUKT, Muzeum, Czas .Kultury, IDEA arts+society, Camera Austria.

Galit Eilat is a writer, curator and the founding director of The Israeli Center for Digital Art in Holon. She is co-editor in chief of Maarav — an online arts and culture magazine, as well as research curator at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. Her projects tackle issues such as the political situation in the Middle East, activism or political imagination in art

Selected curated and co-curated exhibitions: Politics of Collection, Collection of Politics, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2010); The Real War, solo show with Sean Snyder, The Israeli Center for Digital Art, Holon (2010); Evil to the Core, The Israeli Center for Digital Art, Holon (2009–2010); Never Looked Better, Beth Hatefutsoth Tel Aviv (2008–2009); Chosen, a joint collaboration between Wyspa Institute of Art Gdańsk and The Israeli Center for Digital Art, Holon (2008–2009); Mobile Archive in collaboration with Hamburg Kunstverein; Liminal Spaces, traveling seminar Israel and Palestine (2006–2008); People, Land, State, The Israeli Center for Digital (Art, Holon (2006); This is Not America, Art Project Gallery, Tel Aviv (2006Yael Bartana Photo: Daniel MeirPRESS ACCREDITATION

La Biennale di Venezia
Ca' Giustinian
San Marco 1364/A
30124 Venezia
Phone +39 041 5218849
Fax +39 041 5218812

Marta Miś-Michalska
Joanna Waśko

Zachęta National Gallery of Art
pl. Małachowskiego 3
00-916 Warsaw
Tel. +48 22 55 69 600
Fax +48 22 827 78 8

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